Since Covid struck, and the multiple variations that consequently followed, it’s only normal that many people are getting more concerned about staying healthy and maintaining a healthy immune system. It’s always a good idea to take a holistic approach to general health maintenance and boost your immune system.
Boosting your immune system is essential to staying healthy. Doing so can benefit your body and increase your defenses against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Your immune system is your main line of defense against illness, so it only makes sense that you’d want to keep it in top shape.
Naturally, the immune system is designed to fight off sicknesses and viruses. But unfortunately, it can get worn down by stress, toxins, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating. This prevents your body from effectively fighting off sickness as it ought to.
Check out 9 proven and effective ways you can boost your immune system…
#1. Be active
Being active, especially with moderate exercises, is really good for you and your body and can help boost your immune system. This is because it helps in keeping all your body, and its organs, functioning optimally. In addition, exercising plays a role in de-stressing you.
#2. Eat healthy fats
According to the prestigious medical publication, HealthLine, “Healthy fats, like those found in olive oil and salmon, may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens by decreasing inflammation.” Therefore, regular consumption of foods rich in healthy fats like olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn oils, as well as nuts, seeds, and fish. will do you a great good
#3. Add beta carotene to your diet
Beta-carotene is the red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and colorful vegetables. It is also the main safe dietary source of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development, immune system function, healthy skin, and vision. Research has also found that beta-carotene has been responsible for increasing the number of white blood cells and the activity of natural killer cells.
Foods rich in this nutrient are apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, grapefruit, chili powder, oregano, paprika, parsley, kale, ketchup, onions, peas, peppers, plums, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and more.
#4. Up your vitamins C, D, and E intake
Vitamin C and E help protect cells from oxidative stress, while some immune cells need vitamin D to help destroy pathogens that cause infection.
You can get Vitamin C from oranges, lemons, limes, berries, kiwifruit, broccoli, tomatoes, and capsicum. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, green leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils. Besides the sun, food sources for vitamin D include eggs and fish. In addition, some milk and margarine brands may be fortified with Vitamin D.
#5. Consume more zinc
Zinc helps to improve the immune response and control inflammation in your body. It also helps to maintain the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes.
Zinc can be found in foods like oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans without added sugar, yogurt, chickpeas, whole grains, dairy, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and more.
#6. Make protein your best friend
Protein plays a vital role in building and repairing body tissue and fighting viral and bacterial infections. Since your immune system is made up of proteins and relies on new protein synthesis to function, it’s no surprise that getting too little protein in your diet can weaken your immune system.
To boost your immune system, you have to eat various protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
#7. Stock up on prebiotics
I’m sure you are wondering what prebiotics are, seeing as you are already familiar with probiotics. Prebiotics are the fuel that feeds and nourishes probiotics. They are basically ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or function of beneficial intestinal microorganisms. Intake of prebiotics has been associated with the increase in tumor-fighting immune cells amongst other immune cells.
Dietary sources of prebiotics are mushrooms, garlic, asparagus, chicory roots, bananas, fruits, vegetables, artichokes, leeks, onions, and more.
#8. Get hydrated
Water is life! The importance of drinking water cannot be emphasized enough, given its endless benefits to your immunity. Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works to remove toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and negatively impacting your immune system.
#9. Sleep, sleep, and sleep some more
The importance of a good night’s sleep is always forgotten when talking about how to boost your immune system. Sleep definitely plays an important role in immunity. While you sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which are needed to fight infection. Being sleep-deprived reduces the number of cytokines produced, likewise reducing the infection-fighting antibodies you need.
Featured image: dragana991/iStock
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